Dear Seva Canada Supporters, 

Dignity, while universally perceived and recognized, manifests differently across cultures, through their social structures and beliefs. 

To achieve development with dignity, Seva Canada began by learning from local partners what their population needed and what was a culturally appropriate means of meeting those needs. 

The next, and overwhelmingly most important step in developing dignity, has been providing partners with the capacity to meet those population needs, at a level recognized for its excellence, and that is provided appropriately and equitably. Our unstated, but underlying mantra has always been: to make our partners leaders and ourselves unknown. 

Development with dignity required the funding and expertise that Seva Canada provides. It required equipping hospitals, training personnel and funding programs and services. These were important steps in the journey but the real end was creating leadership in the institutions, financial autonomy, and equity in service delivery. From all of this comes dignity, when partners meet as colleagues and friends. These relationships are the ones that have endured for almost 40 years, so far, sometimes long after the need for Seva's funding has passed. 

"Dignity is a word that overturns traditional assumptions about north and south, developed and developing. While charity is bestowed by the haves to the have-nots, dignity does not work like that at all. If I fail to treat someone with dignity, it is me, not them, who is undignified." -Jonathan Glennie

Tanzania woman and doctor laughing

In an article in the Guardian, author Jonathan Glennie writes that: "Dignity is a word that overturns traditional assumptions about north and south, developed and developing. While charity is bestowed by the haves to the have-nots, dignity does not work like that at all. If I fail to treat someone with dignity, it is me, not them, who is undignified." 

If we put dignity front and centre then we also need to stop using terms like 'developed' and 'developing' which are a hold-over from an era long past. As of July 1st, Seva Canada's mission statement was revised to read: 


"Seva Canadas mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in low- and middle-income countries." 

Sincerely,

Penny Lyons,
Executive Director

Sight Stories and News

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    Less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women and, in low-income countries, the percentage is far less. Seva Canada has actively engaged, recruited and mentored women in research because a gendered approach to research increases the range of interventions and breakthroughs that come from looking at problems from different perspectives.

    Blog | September 20th, 2021
  • Development with Dignity

    "Dignity is a word that overturns traditional assumptions about north and south, developed and developing. While charity is bestowed by the haves to the have-nots, dignity does not work like that at all. If I fail to treat someone with dignity, it is me, not them, who is undignified." -Jonathan Glennie

    Blog | September 10th, 2021
  • Rupinder Singh Parhar: Helping Power Brighter Futures With the Gift of Sight

    "As I am legally blind and live in a high-income country, I have been afforded luxuries that would not have necessarily been provided in other regions of the world...I believe that it is my duty to do what I can to give back. I strongly believe that we should not be limited by the birth lottery for social, geographical, and gender statuses, but rather be supported and raised by humanity to be the best versions of ourselves. I am very fortunate for the opportunities bestowed on me and I'm happy to support Seva to make a positive impact in the world!" - Rupinder Singh Parhar, Seva Canada donor

    Blog | August 30th, 2021